Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Xmas, Everyone!

"Xmas???" you ask in disbelief. Isn't that disrespectful to our Lord? Shouldn't we say (and write) "Christmas" instead, to avoid the world's effort to "X out" Christ from this over-commercialized holiday?

My father-in-law, one of the most truly-dedicated Christians I've ever known, abhors the term, and I must admit I'm not comfortable with using it myself. However, I learned a couple years ago that the "X" is actually a reference to Christ's name in ancient Greek! In fact, this article from HowStuffWorks enlightens Christians with some very interesting facts about this oft-maligned term:
  • "X" is not English or Latin, but the Greek letter chi. It is pronounced "kai", as in "kaiser".
  • The illustration above (copied from the article) is the Greek symbol "chi-rho", an amalgamation of the Greek letters chi and rho (pronounced "row"), which represent the Greek word "Christos", which means "Christ".
  • "Xmas" dates back to 15th century Europe, as a reverent abbreviation of "Christmas."
  • Other variations of the term can be traced as far back as the year 1021.

Now on the other hand, we are to avoid even the semblance of evil. Just as words found in the King James Bible are now considered profanity, we should avoid the use of "Xmas", if we feel it would offend other Christians in our presence. However, we should also make an effort to set the record straight, in the pursuit of truth and peace.

And before you ask, the name of Egypt's capital, Cairo, has nothing to do with Christ or Greek, but is derived from Arabic.

Merry Christmas, everyone! And have a joyous Advent Season!